My Night At The Mansion

It all started at a mansion. What a cheeky start, huh?

My really good friend was house sitting the largest and best decorated home in [all of what I dare to believe] America.  The house was amazing. This mansion where it all started had over eight bedrooms, a child’s playroom, a gym, a prayer room, a designated man-cave with a zebra skinned rug, an island in the kitchen made completely of marble that was [not exagerating] bigger than the kitchen in my sister’s house, an indoor pool, and a grotto that puts Hugh Hefner’s to shame [sorry honeys bunnies.].

If I had a permanent address, I’d say I was living the high life by having a sleepover in a place like that! Considering the fact that I don’t have a good enough answer as to why my license says I live in East Tennessee, my car is registered in Illinois, and I am temporarily couch-surfing across the East Coast, I can claim that I’m not living in the lap of luxury despite popular beliefs. [I think I made that up. I’m pretty sure living out of a suitcase is not luxurious to anyone.]

Oddly enough, while I was sitting in the world’s most lush guest bedroom the Lord began to rock my heart in a really deep way. I was reading “The Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer when I felt such a burden of spiritual dryness. Surrounded by the American Dream, I began to recognize that I felt like my hunger for God was rocky. In every sense, I oftentimes desire more from God. I long for more out of my prayer life. And I want more of Him in the day-to-day study of the word. There’s a part of that book that really struck my heart. It’s about being so centered around the intellect that we miss our hearts.

I know without a doubt I am wired to depend on logic and intellect; some of that stems from fear of emotions having seen them displayed in unhealthy ways. Combating my desire to “know” in exchange for constant dependence in an intimate, grace-filled relationship with Christ is a daily struggle. And sometimes if I’m honest, it’s not even a struggle because I stop fighting. And I know that might be something some of you are going through too. Daily fighting off pride, independence or complacency gets tiring when we’re doing it in the flesh. If there is anything I’ve learned through my night at the mansion it is that God: The Master Illustrator shows up in complete, unabashed surrender.

One of my prayers that night was that my heart would stir for the word in a way that helps me to fall in love with Jesus. Now, what I’m about to say might make some of you take a step back and think, “This girl is off her rocker.” Bear with me! It’s not what you think.

I had a vision, and no it wasn’t like a prophetic-incense-burning-3D-projection-from-heaven. It was more like the Lord wanted to cast vision in my heart for how He wants me to have a renewed heart for Him and His word. I just pictured myself in that room reading scripture as if it were a love letter to me. Studying it. Reading it over and over again. Yet, not even noticing that the Author of that letter was sitting with me. God was showing me that oftentimes I read the word because it’s something I’m supposed to do and know, but I completely ignore the Person who wrote it.

Then I imagined myself sitting on the bed with Jesus, reading verses, and discussing them with Him. The verses about His love for us made my heart radiate with JOY! as I got to read them aloud to the God who authored them. I pictured me reading to the Holy of holies 1 Peter 2:9 about being His special people and being in awe that He would die for me! And I began to fall in love with Jesus all over again.

In total surrender of fears and performance, although I was feeling less than competent or even worthy in this massive mansion, the Lord met me. He illustrated where I was at in my walk with Him and where He wants to take me. I felt a burden lift off my shoulders as I felt God’s pursuit of me and see His heart for me. He is an amazing God!

I am excited to walk in this renewed vision and deeper love for the Lord. I am excited to be in prayer about what I’m reading in the word, getting excited with Jesus, and feeling the weight of what He’s saying. If that’s brokenness for the lost or joy in being His, I’m ready to walk through truth with Jesus because I’m confident He gave us His word to know and have His heart.

Thanks for letting me share about my night at the mansion. The Lord is good and His love endures forever!

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STINT, Scary Storms of 2011, and Seasons Ending

Sorry! I didn’t forget about you, promise. I just got a little distracted. You know how that goes.

STINT training:

That weekend couldn’t have gone any better. It was the confirmation that I’ve needed that this is what I’m supposed to be doing this next year. I learned a lot about how Cru operates, the heartbeat behind what we do and just how much work is going to be put in to being hired as an official intern. It was pretty tough though. I’m not going to lie. We were trained in three days over stuff that staff members are taught over two weeks in Colorado. We kind of got the short stick here… 😉

I’m learning more and more that ministry can’t be for those whose faith is not completely and utterly in the Lord. So often I think I am not as dependent on Him as I should be. My faith in His goodness and His plans for me were shaken last semester. But, I’m committing to seeing God the way He is and falling in love with Him all over again as the God of the universe who is loving and just:

Psalm 97:1-6 “1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. 2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. 4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.”…

Psalm 100: 1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

School:

Well, I’m almost completely done with internship paper work. My goal is to be done with that by 6 p.m. I’m completely finished with my Senior Seminar course (final grade=B!). I have a french final on Wednesday. And I have an online portfolio due for my design class sometime next week. Then… I’ll be graduating!!! 🙂 May 7th is the big date. PTL! I can’t wait to be done!

Bible Study:

Tuesday was the last bible study us seniors will ever attend as students at UTC. HOW SAD! It was a great time of reflection, tears, and of course, chocolate. Four years ago, I wasn’t a child of God. Not even close. If someone had told me in 2007 that I’d be where I’m at, I probably would have laughed at them. It’s amazing the work God has done in me through these amazing women and through the staff and ministry of Cru. I know God is so faithful to complete the work He’s begun within me (Phil. 1:6) so He’ll provide a new group of sisters to grow with and invest in. I just can’t imagine the next group being as sweet as this one has been. I’ll post a picture soon of all the girls that I’ve been growing with for the past four years. I look forward to the future while holding these girls and the past four years close to my heart!

Oh, and those Tornadoes:

our little gang in the basement!

Well, two nights ago crazy storms hit the south bringing in over 30 tornadoes. Alabama was hit the worst with over 160 people dead. Tennessee has 24+ casualties. It’s been crazy. Yesterday we hid out in Bonnie and Scott’s basement with like 8 other people. It was fun to be with so many people that I love and adore, but super scary because we kept hearing about the massive devastation the storm was causing around us. Thankfully, no one I know was injured. Our power came back on this morning around 10:30, but thousands of people in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tenn. don’t have power. Keep praying!

Anyways, I have to go! I have a meeting in an hour! 🙂

Promise, next post will be sooner! LOVE YOU!

Intern Mary :)

I really love the sound of that. It does have some sort of ring to it, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve started my internship at a Christian radio station called J103. My first day was on Monday. It was awesome. My first assignment was to write an article on Matthew West for the J103 website. So, I researched info about him and wrote a little ditty.

On Wednesday, I uploaded the story to the website (all by myself!) and put in a video. If you are wanting to read it, it’s found on the Artist Spotlight page. And then I revamped the J103 Top Ten List. You should check that out! The top ten songs are links to Youtube videos of that song. So, go look around the site, listen a little, and tell me what you think!

I love web stuff. I’m such a nerd. But computer programs and web development are so fun to me. Who knew I’d be a techie? Anyways, I have class in an hour and am going to meet Mrs. Kate Duggan in 25 minutes!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

ps- I can’t wait to update you on The Maze and the impact it had on our campus! Get excited!

My Best Friend

I must admit. I have a lot of best friends. I have Lizzy, my married best friend. Kate, my engaged-we-always-have-opposite-schedules best friend. And there’s Jasmine, my mexican best friend. And Jess, my ultimate best friend. Today, I’ve dedicated this blog to my dear friend Jess. 🙂 Enjoy!

Jess and I met my freshman year of college. We were roommates in Johnson Village (now called Johnson O’Bear). We were total opposites. I was a yankee from Chicago (and seriously acted like the girls from Jersey Shore), and Jess, a mild mannered beauty, was from beautiful Franklin, Tenn. Jess was a believer and I was highly offended by any organized religion. Jess loved to read novels and study. I liked to drink and go to parties. Despite all that, we still became friends.

Here’s some pictures from freshman year. Don’t judge me. Hair like that was cool.

Over the years, we’ve grown to be amazing friends. After many a heart ache, we were both overjoyed in September of 2007. This was when we became sisters in Christ. I texted Jess and told her, “I gave my life to Christ today.” She was with her mom when she got the text and she gave her mom this look:

After she realized I was serious and not making fun of her. She was genuinely excited! Here was her reaction!

Jumping for Joy!

When we were reunited in person, we both couldn’t contain our joy! So we both jumped!

As we’ve both grown in our relationship with God, I’m so thankful for a sister in Christ who has stuck by my side!

And who knows, maybe someday she’ll be more than just my sister and ultimate best friend. Maybe (since I have her and Jaci’s permission) I’ll marry into the family! 😉

I hope I didn’t make that too awkward for Corey since he’s the only single male family member. Jess and I are good at making things awkward.

Anyways, my mexican best friend Jas told me to look up a verse today in Romans. Romans 1:11-12 says, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” The person I thought of when I read this was my dear Jessica. 🙂 I’m so thankful for God giving me a girl friend who blesses and encourages me so much! Jess, I LOVE YOU FRIEND!

I’m glad I got to share her with you! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed today’s post. 🙂

Mary

Sunset Rock

I forgot to mention, this past weekend two of my friends from the Daytona Beach Summer Project came to visit. Stephanie is on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ at Clemson. She’s super sweet. She was my discipler this summer. Tessa is a senior at Clemson. She was my bedmate for half of the summer and was on the leadership team with me. 🙂 I love them both DEARLY! 🙂

Here’s some pictures we took up at Sunset Rock. It was beautiful.

Tessa, Me, and Steph at Sunset rock

Love these girls!

The Day I Let Jess Cut My Bangs

 

If I just tilt my head a little this way….

Yesterday was super busy. We had a CRU meeting around 12 which got me really excited for school to start (Let’s be honest. I got excited for CRU to start). Around 4:00 p.m., I drove to Nashville with my friend/roommate Aimee. I really, really love Nashville. It’s so beautiful there. I stayed in Franklin, Tennessee last night with my best friend Jessica. We dyed her hair and she performed a very impulsive and crooked bang cut for me. Jess hasn’t really ever cut anyone’s bangs, so they turned out a little interesting. Good thing hair grows back. 🙂

Today is Jess’s college graduation party. 🙂 I’m so excited for her to be officially graduated. We started our first day of college together as roomates, and it’s so cool to still be friends at the end of it all (college that is!). Everyone say, “Yeehaw for Jess!”

Today, Jess and I had old women moments and decided we wanted to go tour the Carter House in Franklin. This house was the center point for the Battle of Franklin. I suggest everyone take about an hour and a half to go tour it. I can’t really tell much about it (for time’s sake) but here’s a link to their website.

What else? School starts on Monday. I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I’m a little annoyed that this is going to be my fifth year in school. I feel like I should be graduated, but I’m not. It’s such an awkward position! I am excited for CRU and all the ministry opportunities there, I’m just a little disappointed I’m going to be a student still. I’d much rather be doing full time ministry for an occupation rather than being in school. I just need to remember that God has me where He has me for a reason. I am so tempted to jump ahead and get into my young woman, adult role. But if I do that, then I’ll be missing out on what God has in store for me during this season.

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing.